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Saturday, May 18, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Lead Detective Grilled |In Hot Car Death Case

(CN) — Tensions were high in a Georgia courtroom as the lead detective in the hot car death case faced a tough and at times contentious cross examination.

Maddox Kilgore, the lead defense attorney for Justin Ross Harris, got Cobb County Police Detective Phil Stoddard to admit that the defendant never actively researched hot car deaths on the Internet, which contradicts assertions he had made in the early stages of the case.

Harris, who is charged with intentionally leaving his toddler in a hot car to die in June 2014, did view a video of a veterinarian talking about the dangers of leaving pets in hot cars, but the defense contends he only came across it on the social media website Reddit.

Kilgore also grilled Stoddard about evidence suggesting that Harris was planning to take his son Cooper on a family cruise in the days leading up to the child's death.

On June 9, 2014, Harris researched the cost of bringing a child on a cruise, and he exchanged messages with a travel agent on June 17, the day before Cooper died.

Kilgore asked Stoddard if that was consistent with someone who wanted to kill their child. Lead prosecutor Chuck Boring objected to the question, which Judge Mary Staley Clark sustained.

Kilgore then accused Stoddard of not contacting the travel agent himself during his investigation" because it didn't fit your theory."

The prosecution again objected, and prompting Kilgore to observe that Stoddard "has done everything he could to push (his theory) out" at every opportunity. The judge ordered that his comment be struck.

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